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Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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    • 20190320 trinawbenjamin 004 938x528 1
On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

  • SBDC: Temple University SBDC
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    • 20190320 trinawbenjamin 004 938x528 1

Pennsylvania SBDC Releases 2013 Services Summary

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The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have released the cumulative results of the 18 center network’s activities across the Commonwealth in 2013.  The results show that the reduced federal funds for the program because of sequestration directly affected SBDC services delivered statewide to small business owners in Pennsylvania.

The number of aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners who received no-fee, expert, confidential business management advice fell to 10,966 statewide, which was approximately 1,000 less than 2012 totaling 109,736 hours of consulting.  The number of educational programs, 671, and program attendees, 12,091, also showed decreases when compared to 2012.

“Automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to federal funding took a toll on our program last year forcing us to work with reduced resources, directly impacting services to Pennsylvania’s small business owners,” said Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy.  “The steady client count and increases in both client obtained financing and government contracts shows both the demand and results of SBDC services remains strong.”

Highlights from the 2013 services summary include:

  • Entrepreneurs/Businesses Consulted - 10,966
  • Total Consulting Hours Provided - 109,736
  • Educational Workshops & Seminars - 671
  • Educational Event Attendees - 12,091
  • Client-Obtained Investment - $138,784,171
  • Client Government Contracts - $305,078,985
  • Assets Preserved - $58,431,175

The Pennsylvania SBDC maintains that stable federal funding for the SBDC program at the national level is what is needed to best serve entrepreneurs and small businesses in Pennsylvania and nationwide. In a show of support, eight members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation have signed on to on to a national “Dear Colleague” letter in support of America’s SBDC Network for $115 million in funding for the SBDC program in FY 2015. Funds from the national allocation are deployed to each state’s SBDC program, comprising a network of more than 1,000 locations assuring local businesses have the resources they need to survive and thrive.

Another challenge in 2013 facing the Pennsylvania SBDC network and other SBDCs nationwide was the loss of one-time dedicated funds through the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. In Pennsylvania, these funds were targeted specifically to helping start-up companies in the early stages of their business venture start and grow successfully. Facing diminished resources, the SBDC will not be able to continue to dedicate as much time and services to assisting aspiring entrepreneurs, because it is a long-term activity and the SBDCs need to meet short term impact deliverables. The SBDC anticipates that without additional funding, services for start-ups will be scaled back.

Additional outcomes of the 2013 services summary are as follows:

CONSULTING TOPICS: Business plan development was the most requested SBDC service in 2013, followed by start-up assistance, ranking third was marketing, sales and customer relations.

BUSINESS SIZES: 57 percent of small businesses who worked with the Pennsylvania SBDC had between one and five employees in 2013 and 15 percent had six to ten employees.

CLIENT INDUSTRIES: In 2013, 55 percent of small firms who were assisted by the Pennsylvania SBDC were operating in the service industry. The second largest group served was manufacturers at 15 percent. Retail companies made up 14 percent, followed by companies in the ‘other’ category at seven percent, construction at four percent, and lastly wholesalers represented four percent of SBDC clients in 2012.

Out of these industries, the top ten business sectors serviced (sorted by NAICS code) were:

1. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
2. Accommodation and Food Services
3. Other Services (expect Public Administration)
4. Metal Products Manufacturing
5. Health Care and Social Assistance
6. Food Manufacturing
7. Motor Vehicles & Parts Dealers
8. Construction
9. Waste Management & Remediation Services
10. Sporting Goods, Hobby, Musical Instruments, and Book Stores